The Premier League has confirmed it has no plans to pause the 2020/21 season amid a rise in positive COVID-19 cases
Reports surfaced on Tuesday that chairmen of top-flight clubs had held informal talks about a two-week break in action.
It was announced that Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus had tested positive for the disease on Christmas day, as well as two members of staff, and three further players tested positive hours before the match was scheduled to kick-off at Goodison Park.
Despite the rising cases, the Premier League has come out to dismiss any reports of a break in action and said no such option had been discussed.
The statement said: “The Premier League has not discussed pausing the season and has no plans to do so.
“The League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled, and these protocols continue to have the full backing of Government.
“With the health of players and staff the priority, the League is also fully supportive of how clubs are implementing the protocols and rules.”
Earlier this month, Newcastle United’s game against Aston Villa became the first to be postponed due to coronavirus since football returned after the national lockdown after an outbreak at the Toon.
A third game followed suit on Wednesday as Tottenham Hotspur were due to host Fulham, but a number of positive COVID tests in the Cottagers’ camp saw the game called off just four hours before kick off.
Talk of a break in top-flight football was always likely to increase, especially after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new lockdown rules which saw around 75% of the country, including Greater Manchester, put in to Tier 4 – the tightest restrictions.
Those new restrictions now mean no Premier League sides will have fans in their stadiums. Liverpool and Everton were the last two remaining teams allowed 2,000 in but Merseyside will go into Tier 3 as of 00:01 on Thursday.